You can do it any time, anywhere, with anyone! Walking is a great way to keep fit and healthy as it’s fun, flexible and totally free. May is National Walking Month so, to encourage you to put your best foot forward, we’ve come up with some inspiring ideas for how to work more walking into your day-to-day.
Spring is the perfect time to make new habits and get outdoors as much as possible as the days are getting lighter and longer. Walking regularly has great health benefits – from helping to keep your heart healthy, to helping you maintain a healthy weight, to giving your mental health a boost.
We’ve also put together a check list to help make walking outdoors more fun! This includes the best walks in the UK, what to pack and ideas for fun ways to get the whole family involved.
Here are some great ways to increase your steps:
Walk to work
Ditch the car and walk to work, go for a stroll during your lunch break or walk the dog after work.
Join a local walking group or walk with friends,
All across the country, there are communities of walkers who come together to participate in weekly walking sessions to keep fit and improve their health. You could join them! You can find your nearest walking route here: https://www.walkingforhealth.org.uk/walkfinder
Walk with friends
Going on a walk with friends not only benefits your health but your friendships, too! It’s a great way to catch up with people whilst getting some fresh air.
If you have a dog, chances are you already walk every day. If you don’t, you could try borrowing a friend’s or neighbour’s – or using a dog-sitting app like BorrowMyDoggy – to find a pooch to pal up with!
For a real full-body workout, try Nordic walking. In simple terms, it’s walking with poles, so that you use your upper body to propel you forward as you walk – it’s great for toning your upper arms, shoulder and back.
Create a nature trail
Planning your nature trail is half the fun! Whether you want to do this with friends or family, or ramble solo, nature trails are a great excuse to get outdoors and reap the benefits of fresh air. Write down a list of things you want to find on a sheet of A4.
Some great ideas for where to walk:
- Woodland walk – see how many different birds, plants or animals you can spot!
- By the coast/beach – paddling in the sea is optional!
- Along the river banks – see if you can spot any fish.
- Walking to the shops – you can get an ice cream when you get there!
- In the town or city centre – great for people watching.
What to pack:
- Homemade trail mixes of munchy seeds, nuts and dried fruit. You can make this in bulk for the week ahead and pack it up for school runs or pack lunches.
- Nuts, seeds, nut-based bars or nut butter
- Dried or freeze-dried fruits and veggies.
- Energy bars, chews or gels.
- Granola or granola bars.
- Whole-grain tortilla wraps pre packed with your favourite fillings.
Our favourite walks in the UK:
- Hadrian’s Wall National Trail: This ancient wall built to protect Roman England from Scotland is still intact and makes a spectacular walk from one side of northern England to the other. To do the trek in its entirety takes 6 days, but you can pick the route up along the way for a shorter walk.
- Causeway Coast Way: One of Northern Ireland’s most fascinating sights, Giant’s Causeway, is the focus of this route, which is 33 miles and takes 2 days. Again, there are plenty of shorter routes along the way for walkers who don’t fancy going the whole hog!
- Old Harry Rocks, Isle of Purbeck: Take in the most famous landmark on the Dorset Coast – Old Harry Rocks – on this walk that starts at Knoll Beach and gives you a great view of Dorset’s picture-perfect white cliffs.
- Bickling Estate, Norfolk: One of our favourite local National Trust properties, Bickling Estate is a stunning historic country house and gardens set in picturesque Norfolk countryside, perfect for a gentle walk for all the family.
- Along the Suffolk coast: In our lovely home-county of Suffolk, our favourite walk is along the unique coastline of the Suffolk Coast Path, which trails all the way from Felixstowe, along the River Ore and the River Alde, to the picturesque seaside town of Aldeburgh.